Scientists from India are poised to go up to 6,000 metres below the sea surface as part of a deep ocean quest to uncover the mysteries of life’s origins (DOM).
Initially, the 4,077-crore expedition would send scientists to a depth of 500 metres to test various technology being created for the purpose before venturing farther into the unknown.
Some questions regarding the beginnings of life remain unanswered. There are beliefs that life began in hydrothermal vents at depths of four to five kilometres in the ocean, according to M Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences.
The DOM will also assist India in mapping the ocean floor, which is a rich source of metals and minerals, according to Mr Ravichandran, who added that the mission will assist scientists in identifying and demarcating resource-rich areas that could be exploited later when suitable technology for deep-sea mining becomes available.
Mineral exploration investigations will pave the path for commercial exploitation in the near future, he added, if the International Seabed Authority develops such a code.
The technologies necessary for deep-sea mining have strategic ramifications and are not commercially accessible, according to Mr Ravichandran, who added that efforts would be made to indigenize technology through collaboration with premier institutes and private enterprises.